Closing in the midst of a forgery scandal, the Knoedler Gallery came to an ignominious end. The New York Times tries to celebrate its heyday and the cohort of dealers who built the foundations of New York City as the art capital of the world:
On June 14, 1918, the art dealer René Gimpel wrote in his diary, perhaps enviously, that the gallery offered a broad selection: “You’re looking for an engraving for $5 that you’d find on the quays for five sous? You’ll get it here. It’s a Rembrandt etching you fancy, or a very rare 18th-century engraving? Five thousand dollars — it’s yours! Name it; they’ll show you it.”
According to a 1948 article by the critic Aline Saarinen in The New York Times, Knoedler gave the first charity benefit show, in early 1912; 8,000 people paid 50 cents each to see works by Vermeer and Velázquez. Later in the year, a show on behalf of women’s suffrage raised half as much, $2,000.
In 1925 Knoedler moved to a new structure at 14 East 57th Street, also by Carrère & Hastings. This was a more sophisticated headquarters, with a ground floor of irregular, deeply rusticated stone and second-floor windows with blocky Gibbs surrounds.
Knoedler was late arriving to 57th Street, by this time New York’s art center. Its competitor Durand-Ruel had built a limestone gallery at 12 East 57th in 1913, and the controversial Joseph Duveen had put up a luscious French neo-Classical gallery at 56th and Fifth in 1912.
When Elegance Sold Art (New York Times)